Welcome to your match thread for today’s match-up between the Orlando Pride (5-5-4, 19 points) and the Chicago Red Stars (7-3-4, 25 points) at Toyota Park in
Chicago Bridgeview, IL. This is the second of three scheduled meetings between the two sides, with the Red Stars returning to Orlando City Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 5 at 7:30 p.m.
The Pride is coming off a 4-1 win over FC Kansas City last Saturday at home, in a game that saw three Orlando players — Alex Morgan, Toni Pressley, and Kristen Edmonds — score their first goals of the season. Alanna Kennedy got the party started with her second of the year, nodding home a Marta cross. Maegen Kelly scored for FCKC.
The Red Stars drew at Sky Blue FC last weekend. Sofia Huerta and Christen Press gave Chicago a 2-0 lead but the hosts came back on strikes from Maya Hayes and Sam Kerr. Chicago is 5-0-2 at home this season and is unbeaten in its last three games (1-0-2). The Pride are 2-3-3 on the road in 2017, but 2-0-1 in their last three. Orlando is 1-0-1 in its last two games overall.
Orlando is 0-3-0 against the Red Stars — all by 1-0 final score lines — including the first meeting this season back on July 1 as Chicago won on a late penalty. The Pride couldn’t quite unlock the Red Stars’ defense, which has been the case pretty much in all three previous meetings.
Orlando dropped both match-ups in 2016. Press scored in the 65th minute to give Chicago a 1-0 home win on May 1 of last year. In the rematch in Orlando on July 16, Taylor Comeau’s header on a Huerta cross was the difference in the Red Stars’ second 1-0 win of the series.
Sitting second in the NWSL standings, the Red Stars have had a great season in 2017. They’re tied with league-leading North Carolina for the second-fewest goals conceded this season (13, just one more than Portland Thorns) and are adept at grinding out close games with U.S. internationals like goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher and defenders Casey Short and Julie Ertz — who has also played midfield quite a bit — leading the defense. Press leads the league in shot attempts (69), and shots on goal (33), is fourth in goals scored (6), and has added three assists and 19 chances created this year. Huerta has three assists this season and has created 21 chances for Chicago.
“[Chicago’s strikers are] difficult. The key thing [for us] is defenders need to be on their mettle from minute 1 to minute 90,” Head Coach Tom Sermanni said. “We need to make sure we always have a spare player in the back. Our defenders need to be marking, even when we are in possession of the ball. We need to be aware of what is going to happen next. If we turn over possession, [Chicago] are going to get the ball forward very quickly to [Christen] Press or [Sofia] Huerta and they are going to go straight to attack us either in behind or up to feet. That is going to be an issue that we are going to have to deal with in this game. Going away from home, we need to make sure that defensive discipline is there.”
Ashlyn Harris (right quad) is out for Orlando although she is closing in on a return, having taken goal kicks in training this week. Chicago appears healthy entering the game.
Orlando Pride (4-3-3)
Goalkeeper: Aubrey Bledsoe.
Defenders: Steph Catley, Toni Pressley, Ali Krieger, Camila.
Midfielders: Alanna Kennedy, Marta, Dani Weatherholt.
Forwards: Chioma Ubogagu, Alex Morgan, Jasmyne Spencer.
Bench: Caroline Stanley, Kristen Edmonds, Monica, Jamia Fields, Maddy Evans, Nickolette Driesse, Rachel Hill.
Chicago Red Stars (4-3-3)
Goalkeeper: Alyssa Naeher.
Defenders: Casey Short, Taylor Comeau, Kathleen Naughton, Arin Gilliland.
Midfielders: Sofia Huerta, Lauren Kaskie, Danielle Colaprico.
Forwards: Christen Press, Vanessa DiBernardo, Jennifer Hoy.
Bench: Michele Dalton, Alyssa Mautz, Julie Ertz, Stephanie McCaffrey, Morgan Proffitt, Summer Green, Sarah Gorden.
Ref: Farhad Dadkho.
AR1: Rachel Smith.
AR2: Art Arustamyan.
4th: Lukas Szpala.
How to Watch
Match Time: 3:30 p.m. (ET).
Venue: Toyota Park — Bridgeview, IL.
Streaming: NWSLSoccer.com or the Lifetime app.
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